Faro – Portugal

Our daughter was leaving for a year in Australia and we didn’t want to sit about straight after she had left, so we booked a cheap flight to Faro – somewhere new for us and would help keep us occupied for a few days while we came to terms with the fact that she was halfway around the world for at least a year.

Farewell party for Emma before she headed to Australia.

See you in a yearSee you in a year
Take care in AustraliaTake care in Australia

We dropped her off at Glasgow airport and then drove straight to Prestwich airport for our flight.

The flight takes around 3 hours and the airport is close enough to Faro that it is actually possible to walk the 4 miles into Faro town centre, if you are feeling energetic! Our hotel Rialgarve was even closer, just 1.6 miles away but as we were still unfamiliar with the surroundings, we decided to get a taxi. During our many walks throughout our week in Faro, we did walk to the airport from the hotel; just to see how easy it is and after a 40-minute walk along a quiet road, we arrive at the airport. We didn’t know it at the time but this route would become an important part of our future cycling trip to Portugal.

Hotel Rialgarve

Aileen chillingAileen chilling
Pool to ourselvesPool to ourselves

Our hotel was conveniently located in a quiet residential area and just over 2 miles from Faro town centre. The hotel has its own private pool with a restaurant overlooking it and within a convenient distance to the pool, allowing you to relax with a drink. There is an easy-paced atmosphere with friendly staff. Its facilities are basic but it is very clean with comfortable beds and air conditioning. We would recommend walking to the town centre as the walk takes you through Parque Ribeirinho de Faro nature reserve and park. A few years ago, this forgotten area of Faro was rebuilt into more modern and inviting walkways. It has a calm atmosphere to it and you’ll regularly see joggers and groups of locals enjoying the surroundings.

As you near the town of Faro, you will walk parallel to the main train line and eventually reach Faro railway station. To continue your walk into Faro, you will need to cross the rail line at the station. There is no bridge or crossing service but there is a helpful couple of steps down onto the tracks which can be crossed via a wooden path dissected by rail tracks. It’s a quiet enough station but obvious care and attention are required to cross safely.

Streets of FaroStreets of Faro
Arco da VilaArco da Vila
Cathedral bell in square of Largo da Se CathedraCathedral bell in square of Largo da Se Cathedra
Faro MarinaFaro Marina

When we had informed our friends and family that we were going to visit Faro, we quickly realised that most of those who had been to Portugal and had flown into Faro had then been bussed or taxied to resorts miles away and were unaware that Faro was more than just a place to fly into.

To be fair, we didn’t have any expectations ourselves as this was a late deal and a chance to get some sun.

As it turned out, we loved Faro and planned to return in the future. So why did we enjoy Faro? It might, in part, have been the time of year we went. September is generally quieter than July and this helped to create a quiet and laid-back atmosphere but it was more than that.

The locals were friendly and clearly had pride in their town, the weather was perfect with not a cloud in the sky, there was incredible architecture with lots of history, the Marina was full of fancy yachts, perfectly situated restaurants with tables placed for perfect views or a spot of people watching. You get the idea! Yet this description could fit any number of Mediterranean towns and villages.  Maybe our love for Faro is more a reflection of Aileen and me rather than anything special about Faro. Whatever it is, it will require further visits to find out.

Faro beach –Praia da Ilha de Faro is a short bus ride away and has a great stretch of perfect sand as well as beach cafes and bars but has managed to remain low key, with no sign of noisy pubs. I struggle to lie on a beach but once again Faro worked its magic and I lay on my sun lounger from late afternoon until sunset.

Faro beach -Praia da Ilha de Faro

Praia da Ilha de FaroPraia da Ilha de Faro
Praia da Ilha de FaroPraia da Ilha de Faro
Praia da Ilha de FaroPraia da Ilha de Faro
Praia da Ilha de FaroPraia da Ilha de Faro

Whilst wondering around Faro, we stumbled across a sign for a cycle route and as we were no officially smitten by Portugal, we hatched a plan to cycle Portugal. This plan became a reality the following year and has already been documented in a series of blogs, which you may find both interesting and funny in equal measures – Lets cycle Portugal

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Before we had had a chance to explore further, it was time to leave this special Portuguese town but we knew it wouldn’t be the last time we would see it.

By By Faro x

Great foodGreat food
See you again FaroSee you again Faro

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